Thursday, May 19, 2011

Remembering Amanda

Amanda Prewitt Doss along with her two children were killed recently. The killer set fire to the house after fact in what I'm guessing was an attempt to conceal his crime. This is a tragedy in any sense of the word. Whatever Amanda had done in her life she did not deserve to have her life brutally taken from her in that way.

I'm writing about this because I knew Amanda. She was a member of our youth ministry at FBC Redwater, TX in the late 1980's. Amanda was very bright and well spoken. Quick witted and inquisitive, Amanda kept me on my toes. She made me laugh.

My fondest memory of Amanda will always be the love acceptance she extended to another teenager when he first came to church. The young man had a bad reputation, but that didn't stop Amanda from placing his name on our youth prayer list. No one was more surprised than I was when the young man came to our revival services a short time later. I was on the platform when he came in. Amanda looked back and moved to go sit with him. She walked with him down the aisle that night when he came to confess his new found faith in Jesus.

I regret that I fell out of touch with Amanda in the years that followed. I'm sure her life was filled with the struggles that plague us all, but if I knew Amanda she found a way to make her life and the lives of those around her better. She wasn't perfect, but she had that way about her.

The world is a dangerous place. Terrorists ply their trade with deadly effectiveness. Natural disasters remind us that we are not as in control as we'd like to think. Everyday is filled with dangers and trouble. It's enough to make you lock yourself behind barred windows and high fences.

But I choose not to.

I believe that God is truly in control of all things. I accept that all these happenings are a part of His greater plan and purposes. I may not understand the "why" but I do believe that there is a purpose being played out. I also know from personal experience that He is with those who grieve and mourn and weep. Amanda told me how she came to faith in Jesus all those years ago and I hold to that confession for the hope that I will one day see her again.

Amanda has exchanged this flawed, imperfect world for the presence of God.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

For Allison

Last Saturday was a very trying day for me. That morning I watched as my wife and daughter both ran a 10K race (that's 6.2 miles for the uninitiated....and yes, I had to ask!) and then that evening my daughter graduated from high school. I watched two of the most important women in my life accomplish some pretty cool stuff.

Over the course of the last few months I've become very much aware of the passages of life. My daughter can now say that she can run 6.2 miles AND is a high school graduate. I actually think that she's prouder of the distance running than the graduation. But to me the significance is that she is moving into the adult world...a world that I'm not sure is ready for her.

Allison, I wish you every happiness and joy. I know that hard times and struggles will come to your life as they do for all of us, but I pray that you'll find the never ending joy of Christ in each of those moments. Your mother and I have done everything we can to prepare you for the possibilities of life, but no one can truly prepare you. There is much that you will have to come to grips with on your own. Please never forget the faith that you profess or the one in whom you have placed that faith.

You are stronger than you realize, both physically and spiritually. But never let your strength make you feel sufficient. Lean on His wisdom and love for you, allowing His Spirit to fill you and guide you. Only in the surrender to His will can you find peace and direction and wisdom.

I will never forget the day when you were four that you told me that you didn't need my help. My heart broke that day and I shed tears over what those words meant. The day is drawing ever closer when those words will be truer than either of us could realize. I must trust the Lord to guide you when I cannot. My prayer is that you will trust Him as well.

I love you.